Sunday, 22 August 2010

Good news for oil producers

Apparently, the incredible, poisoned condition of the Niger delta isn't Shell Oil's fault, despite the fact that everything's covered in oil.
A three-year investigation by the United Nations will almost entirely exonerate Royal Dutch Shell for 40 years of oil pollution in the Niger delta, causing outrage among communities who have long campaigned to force the multinational to clean up its spills and pay compensation.
Just goes to show that lefty conspiracy theorists like myself and our poor, black, oppressed allies in Africa should think more carefully before jumping to conclusions and blaming the old military-industrial-Western-capitalist nexus for all the world's ills. I'm sorry, Shell. Despite the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his friends when they got in your way, we all owe you a massive apology for our decades of cynicism and distrust - the Ogoni are obviously Luddite whingers who couldn't move with the times. Next time a tiger encourages me to fill my tank, I'll bloody do it, with gratitude and a smile because we got you all wrong.

Oh wait.
The $10m (£6.5m) investigation by the UN environment programme (UNEP), paid for by Shell and commissioned by the Nigerian government 
who both have massive oil interests in the region will say that only 10% of oil pollution in Ogoniland has been caused by equipment failures and company negligence, and concludes that the rest has come from local people illegally stealing oil and sabotaging company pipelines.
Er… phrases like 'you gotta dance with them what brung ya' and 'he who pays the piper calls the tune' spring to mind. As well as musings about why the locals in one of the world's biggest oilfields can't afford petrol and are dying younger.
With 606 oil fields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of the crude oil imported by the US. Life expectancy in its rural communities, half of which have no access to clean water, has fallen to little more than 40 over the past two generations.
But that's just me. Put it out of your mind, Vole. We're living in the Age of Business. That's why the new government's abandoned the Human Rights Annual Report and told British embassies to concentrate on business business BUSINESS. Let's just trust Dave'n'Nick on this one.

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